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FROM THE CHAIR
WALK WITH EASE
PASADENA VILLAGE HIKING GROUPBy Blog Master
Pasadena Village Hiking Group
Are you interested in taking advantage of the many parks and hiking trails in the Pasadena area? If so, you may want to consider the Pasadena Village Hiking Affinity Group. This group represents one of the many opportunities available to its members. And anyone age 55 or older can the join the Village to take advantages of these opportunities! Just go to the web site at Pasadena Village.org , click on “Member Info”, then click on “Join”.
The hiking group was founded by Peter LeSourd. Peter was introduced to hiking at age 6 by his dad. For years, he a,nd his dad, mother, and brother would hike in the mountains of Washington State where they lived. As a result, Peter, as he puts it, became a “dedicated hiker with a passion for the mountain wilderness”. Over the years, he has climbed several of Washington's glacial peaks, including Mount Rainier. Peter has passed on his passion to his son.
As an aside, Peter has published an essay on what caused the boom in hiking in the 1950's and 60's. In it, he takes issue with the conventional answers to that question. Read Peter's article about the Northwest's influence on the growth of wilderness recreation.
Peter moved to SoCal in 1989. After joining the Village, he took advantage of one of the Village's strengths: the opportunity for any member to start their own Affinity Group. He polled the membership and was delighted to find some 8 or 10 members who were interested. Hence, the Pasadena Village Hiking Affinity Group was born.
The hikes typically cover 3 to 5 miles with a 500 to 800 foot elevation gain. Some hikes are out and back, so participants can lengthen or shorten the hike as needed. Up to 15 members usually participate.
Examples of past hikes include the trails of Monrovia Canyon Park up to the waterfall, Cherry Canyon Trails, Santa Clarita Woodland Reserve, Chantry Flats, Marshall Canyon, and the forest trail along the summit of Mt. Wilson. Peter says “There is great social interaction within the group; we have a lot of fun together.”
Peter spends a great deal of time researching and reconnoitering potential hikes. He takes into consideration the driving time to the trail head, the weather prediction, elevation gain, and trail length. Peter has also met the challenges presented by the pandemic and a terrible wildfire in the nearby central San Gabriel Mountains that burned out many trails leaving them closed to public use.
Peter adds “Leading the Village hiking group is one of my most treasured activities. I was able to keep this activity going by planning hikes on fire roads, where we could practice “social distancing” side-by-side and could talk as we walked. With careful planning we have continued to enjoy the long term health benefits of being active, as well as the challenges of such hikes, and the ability to enjoy the beauty and solitude of the mountain wilderness”.
Village member Wayne April, who is involved the the Village board, says that “the monthly hike, led by Peter LeSourd, is a highlight of my activities”. He adds that, at the Village, “if you don't see something that you want to do, you can organize it!”
Long-time member Barbara Madden discovered the Village back in 2011 just as its founding members were organizing it. In the hiking group, as in the Village as a whole, Barbara found “an energetic group of people on a mission to create a supportive community.” Barbara also found “a mutually supportive community of like-minded people who are invested in creating a satisfying life and in giving support to each other through the joys and vicissitudes of latter life.”
Village member Valerie Jones says “I enjoy the hiking group because it allows me to be out in nature and get vigorous exercise at the same time. I also like meeting and socializing with others in the group. Everyone is always in high spirits and accommodating. Because we are all seniors, we understand if someone is having difficulties and we are sensitive to each other.” She adds “Peter does such a great job of choosing hikes in various places that are not only interesting, but also beautiful and challenging. We sometimes go for coffee afterwards to rest and socialize.”
On last month's hike, Village member Gaj Birur expresses his appreciation: “Peter, thanks for organizing and leading this hike. This was my third monthly hike with the group and I have enjoyed every one of them and learned so much about nearby hiking trails. I really appreciate your passion and genuine interest in helping Village members enjoy themselves.”
Sound interesting? Keep an eye out on the Village calendar for the next hike. The hikes are typically held every second Friday of the month starting at around 8 a.m.
If you are not currently a member, we hope to hear from you soon.